Everyone’s asking, what is Ultra Box?

September 20, 2011 No Comments

For what it's worth: I believe the Russian phenom, Denis Grachev, will be Ultra Box's first champion of champions. He not only competes in both Boxing and Kickboxing, he's presently unbeaten in both. Photo: Jim Wyatt

You’re probably wondering as I did, what is Ultra Box? For me, it meant, someone or some organization was taking my favorite sport to another level. That’s why I had to do the following interview with Mike Brown, the promoter of this new venture, and get some answers.


 

Mr. Brown, as founder/organizer of Ultra Box, can you tell us a little something about your background?

[MBrown ]  Jim, I’m just one of a team, we all have different backgrounds and strengths that we bring to the table. Personally, I came out of over 20 years of cable television and marketing. Back in those days cable was only on for 4 or 5 hours a day and our company was the one that introduced PPV to HBO. I still have letters from HBO telling us they had no interest in PPV, they thought it was a waste of time. We all know how that went. One thing I want to make very clear is that Ultra Box is a “WE” thing. By that I mean, Ultra Box is not just about the promoter and organizer, it’s about the athletes, the sponsors, the media, it’s about entertaining the audience, and most importantly, it’s about all of us making money together.

What is Ultra Box and how is it different from kickboxing? 

[MBrown ]  As you know there are many different forms of kickboxing and although Ultra Box utilizes both kicking and boxing, its rules are very specific that both kicks and punches must land above the waist. Just as in boxing, which prohibits “low blows,” Ultra Box prohibits low kicks.

Knockdowns are both allowed and encouraged and Ultra Box does not require any minimum number of kicks per round as some kickboxing rules have in the past. Some of the other differences include weight classes, round timings, glove weights with no footpads or requirements for long pants. A full set of rules and our weight classes can be found on the website, www.ultra-box.com. Fighters who are interested in participating can register on this website.

Who’s behind the Ultra Box experience? 

[MBrown] There are a number of industry pros participating. We’ve received very positive and encouraging responses from sponsors, venues, the media, fiduciaries, as well as the athletes themselves. Most people view Ultra Box as a refreshingly new opportunity with Global appeal.

Your critics might say, They’re only diluting the sports. What does Ultra Box bring to the table that we don’t already see in Boxing, Karate or Muay Thai/Kickboxing?

[MBrown] Opportunity Jim, opportunity to make money based on your skills and not on who you signed with or who you know. There are fighters from all the disciplines you mentioned working hard in gyms around the world. A lot of these fighters could beat the top ranked fighters we see on TV, the problem is, they will never get an opportunity to get a shot at that fame and fortune. Ultra Box is specifically structured to give those athletes that opportunity to be the world’s best and make the big bucks.

Can you tell us a little something about the size of the gloves, and different weight classes? Will the fighters be allowed to use those cotton coverlets over the feet and ankles?

[MBrown]  The glove sizes are the same used in professional boxing. Either eight or 10 ounce gloves depending on the weight class. An interesting thing is we’re getting a lot of calls from MMA fighters who tell us if they can make money getting hit with eight or 10 ounce gloves instead of those four ounce gloves, “we can count them in.” Weight classes are in 10 pound increments from 120 to 170. Then 170 to 190 for Light Heavyweights, 190 to 215 for Cruiserweights and over 215 for Heavyweights. The full rules and weight classes can be found at www.ultra-box.com.  Currently, Ultra Box rules do not prohibit the use of grapplesock type products or ankle wraps.

With the changes in the rules of fighting, where are you going to get the proper officials for your matches and who’s going to sanction such fights?

[MBrown] Ultra Box is a professional organization, not amateur, and as such, all fighters need to be licensed by the state with up-to-date medicals. We are working closely with the various State Athletic Commissions to make sure the judges and referees understand the Ultra Box rules and that the fighters are aware of the State’s specific requirements. These requirements will be posted on the website as they become finalized.

Where will the stars of this new venture come from? Obviously the sport will favor either the established kickboxer or the established boxer, which is it?

[MBrown] Both, the kicker and boxer. The stars of the future will come from the athletes that are working hard in gyms across the world. They are all out there, right now, from all the disciplines.

When you think of kicking, you automatically think of the great athletes of Thailand. Which of the countries or body types will be favored in your sport?

[MBrown] Because Ultra Box is not primarily kicking, we feel that our warriors will come from countries that favor boxers, but then again, one never knows.

With this cross-fertilization of boxing and kicking, does that mean the full range of punches can be employed? You have the lead jab, straight and cross punching, the hook, uppercuts, the shovel and corkscrew punches plus overhands in boxing but you also have the hammer fists and back fists. Are they going to be allowed?

[MBrown] All these are currently allowed under Ultra Box rules, but you have to keep in mind there are no take-downs allowed, so these would all be standing punches.

The timing of the introduction of Ultra Box – why now and why start in San Diego and when will we start to see Ultra Box events?

[MBrown] Combat sports and combative competition is a rapidly growing global industry. This can be seen in expanding markets such as numerous reality TV shows, rugby, soccer and football, hockey, wrestling, video games, films, and of course MMA. Ultra Box was first sanctioned in the State of California and the State officials have been very helpful and cooperative.  As Ultra Box is just getting started, “the baby just coming out of the womb,” we are talking and listening to a lot of people. While were not just concentrating on San Diego, San Diego does have a lot of talent, resources and training facilities and we felt it would be a good place to work out the kinks that accompany this type of venture before expanding to the rest of the country and the world. People are always asking when the events will start. We’re also excited to get underway, but we are more interested in building Ultra Box on a solid foundation for the long haul as a Global Brand. We are in a hurry to “get it right” not in a hurry to just put on some events. We anticipate putting on an exhibition match, probably on a boxing or MMA card in order to allow the State officials to work with the new rules. We were hoping to put this on with the “Stars of Tomorrow” show on September 16th, but things just weren’t ready. This should occur before the end of the year though.

The aggressive kickboxer will of course press the action and keep pushing forward, while the boxer will want to get in close and land the shorter shots, especially his or her uppercuts. Your thoughts on which sort of fighting style will be the most effective?

[MBrown] Well Jim, that would be up to the fighter and his trainer. Like in chess, some players use the rooks in conjunction with the queen, while others use the bishops. It will up to the individual fighter and his trainer as to what they put together for the fighter’s offense.

And what about the prize money? Will that be established ahead of time and will the patrons be informed?

[MBrown] Yes, it will be established and known by the patrons. The money is what it’s all about for all the participants and without saying too much here, the type and size of that prize money becomes part of the excitement and entertainment.

What ambitions/expectations do you have for this new sport?

[MBrown] We realistically see Ultra Box as a Global Brand with participants and events in venues around the world. The architects of Ultra Box are consciously developing the direction with the widest possible demographics. In order to be successful and remain successful, many, many details must be understood, the vision must be clear, risk must be averted, the audience must be entertained, the investors must realize a profit, the sponsors must reach new and profitable markets, the athletes must be rewarded appropriately, and an opportunity for all must be maintained. These are the objectives of Ultra Box.

People have said you’ve already spoken to some network people and their excited. Which organizations? 

[MBrown] That’s correct, but it’s premature to make that information public.

And finally what was that experience like? You know, going in to pitch a new idea to the networks?

[MBrown] Networks and cable operators are looking to make a profit like any other business. If one understands how they make that profit and if one has a solid business plan to demonstrate how they can increase their profits, then they are all ears. As the old saying goes, “if you have a great product, you can talk really loud.” Ultra Box is a really great product.

 

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